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Jobs from the Reach files - 5

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In this regular series Olive Braman tells how volunteers can use their skills and expertise through REACH, the charity that places professional and business people in part time voluntary jobs

You can find all the Jobs From the REACH Files articles from the Volunteering Index


 The main problem with the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) is its name. Unlike those of many other charities, it stirs neither excitement nor compassion. To my shame I had dismissed it as boring. That was before I talked to Tony Lodge.

The Trust is a charity set up by the Prince of Wales in 1989, and Tony is one of its  aftercare counsellors. He gives support and guidance to young entrepreneurs in his area of Renfreweshire who have been funded by the PSYBT.

 The purpose of the Trust is to encourage and advise young people to set up their own businesses.  So far it has invested approximately £15.4  million in almost 5000 businesses and, as a result, over 5600 youngpeople between the ages of 18-25 have been able to launch their ideas. 

Tony helps them with reports, accounts, and their marketing strategy. But, most importantly, he has a strong relationship with the youngsters so they know that he is there to help them through any difficulties.  "I tell them that I am available at any time they need me. Some may be on the 'phone two or three times a week. Others I only see at our quarterly meetings."   

“I know what we do works,” he says. “Fifty per cent of the businesses are still going strong after three years, which is excellent when you consider that business survival generally is 20% after three years.   Many beginners throw themselves energetically into their new business and then, after about a year, they are exhausted.  It helps when I  tell them that they are not alone in this experience.  I also check what they are doing and help them to work smarter rather than harder."

“I like working with youngsters. They are very quick learners and they are positive, they believe that everything is possible." 

Tony has a mixed group  which includes a hairdresser, a designer of Scottish jewellery, a racing driver.  He makes it his business to be aware of individual challenges and clearly is delighted when people succeed. 

One young woman suffering from ME has started a ceramic business producing lamps and vases.   “I admire her determination to support herself through her work and not to go on benefit,” says Tony. “It is obviously difficult at times, but she works whenever she is well enough and is managing to make a go of it." 

Another client is a young graduate who was struggling to make a living as a tutor but is developing his talents in designing computer software. "His turnover is now approaching £150,000. He is a real live wire and I expect him to be a millionaire by the time he’s forty. The racing driver is also meeting with success in setting up sponsorship deals with various companies.”

Tony’s business background is clearly a huge asset to the young people he advises.  He was a  sales and marketing manager before becoming the managing director of a large electrical engineering company.                                                        

When he retired he looked for a way to put his experience to good use. He contacted REACH, the charity which finds volunteer jobs for those who want to offer their professional experience to voluntary organisations. REACH introduced him to PSYBT. In 1999 the Royal Bank of Scotland named him Business Adviser of the Year.

Sandra Hunt from the Trust, wants more people like Tony.  "We rely totally on our volunteers. Since in our last financial year we supported 17% more young people. Areas of need stretch from Highlands to Glasgow. Our counsellors need to have business expertise, communications skills and they need to be able to empathise with many different people setting up different ventures."

For further information about PSYBT contact Sandra Hunt: telephone 0141 248 4999, e-mail or visit their

REACH   Tel: 020 7582 6543. email: website:

Look out for future features from Olive Braman on Jobs From The REACH Files or view all the REACH Files Articles from our Volunteering Index


laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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